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  • 31 March 2020 to 31 March 2021
  • Project No: 495
  • Funding round: FR20

The NHS urgently needs quick, accurate tests to diagnose people with coronavirus or to confirm that people do not have the infection.

Point-of-care tests can be used in community hotspots of infection where there is no easy access to a specialist laboratory. They provide quick results that allow people to get immediate advice about self-isolation and treatment, potentially blocking further spread of infection in the community. There are different tests. One type might give a result like a pregnancy test by using a drop of blood from a finger prick. Another might use a computer to analyse a small blood sample.

Accurate diagnostic tests are important so that people are not falsely reassured when they are infected, are not worried when they are not infected, and are able to follow the correct public health advice and treatment. There is currently no research to find out which point-of-care tests are most accurate for coronavirus.

Our team manage a network of GP practices from all over England that already report directly to the Department of Health about a wide range of infections. The GP practices have been testing for coronavirus since January 2020 with laboratory tests. Some practices also use point-of-care tests for influenza.

We will invest this funding to allow practices in our group to quickly compare new point-of-care tests for coronavirus with the laboratory tests. To do this we will increase the number of practices that offer point-of-care tests, and we will train the practices about new coronavirus tests. We will start by evaluating two new coronavirus tests starting in the next four weeks.

Co-investigators

Richard Hobbs, Simon de Lusignan, Uy Hoang, Filipa Fereira, Alex Deeks, Harshana Liyananga, Gail Hayward, Philip Turner, Joseph Lee, Tom Fanshawe and Jason Oke.

Amount awarded: £50,000.

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

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Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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